Beneath the streets of Cheesebridge live a group of mischievous but lovable monsters known as The Boxtrolls. For years, the town’s residents have lived in fear of the creatures but in spite of their grotesque appearance and often ill-mannered behavior, The Boxtrolls are actually a loving group of oddball do-gooders. For years, The Boxtrolls have lovingly fostered a human orphan, Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), thought they remain misunderstood by the townspeople – that is until Eggs decides to venture above ground and comes face-to-face with his own kind. Even as certain Cheesebridge residents begin warming to The Boxtrolls, local exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) has other plans – promising to eradicate the sewer-dwelling menace once and for all.
As indicated, Ben Kingsley plays the villainous Snatcher – a malevolent inventor who views the Boxtrolls as a menace and hopes to further his own ambitions by saving the town from their nightly visits aboveground.
In our discussion with the acclaimed actor, Kingsley opens-up about the Snatcher character as well as how exactly he found his “voice” – while also teasing two other high-profile projects that he’s involved in. In the interview, he also touches on whether or not we’ll see infamous “Mandarin” Trevor Slattery return in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Check out the trailer for The Boxtrolls below, followed by our interview with Kingsley:
Screen Rant: I read that you think your character from this movie, Snatcher, is a bit like Don Logan from Sexy Beast. Is that the case?
Ben Kingsley: Well, I think that — let me translate that. I think that what I was trying to say, probably, is that every villain I play is unplayable until I find the wound within. That crack that I must learn to love and take care of, and it motivates and is the engine for the whole of the performance. So rejection for both Don Logan and Snatcher is unbearable, and Archibald Snatcher is desperate to wear a white hat and eat cheese with the greatest in the city. Those who run the world wear white hats and eat special cheese. And he wants to join this club that constantly, constantly rejects him, until he finds a way of blackmailing them into saying, “Okay, this town’s about to be overrun and destroyed’ — It could be called a pre-emptive strike, actually (winks) — ‘It’s about the be overrun and destroyed. I know the enemy. They’re living under the streets and they will kill your children.’ It’s completely untrue, total horrible invention. The Boxtrolls are sweet, charming, life-affirming, very loving, protective people who save the life of a child. They don’t, you know — it’s the opposite. But he creates this mad scenario in order to get access to the power room.
SR: How did you find the voice?
BK: I know that certain types — certain physical, human shapes — do produce different voices. And the drawings I saw of Archibald Snatcher, they represent a certain shape very different from mine. So I found the voice — I based it on somebody I know, not a villain, he’s a very kind, sweet man — and then I had to recline on a day bed in order to get the voice to drop, to come from the most relaxed posture of my body, and also to resist any body language whilst recording. All those guys wanted was my voice, so me waving my arms around would be no help to them whatsoever. And no help to me, because it would be a compensation for what I’m no doing with my voice. So I thought, “Ben, you’ve got to do everything with your voice.” So those are the two key devices I used to arrive at that voice.
SR: And you’re also doing voice work for The Jungle Book…
BK: I play Bagheera in The Jungle Book, which is very exciting, and the dragon in Dragonheart, so I’m doing quite a lot of voice work.
SR: Are we going to meet up with Trevor Slattery again anytime soon, as far as you know?
BK: Why don’t you create an enormous demand for him? Let’s go viral on that one. Where is Trevor?
SR: We’re going to get started on that right away.
BK: Great stuff! Great stuff!
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The Boxtrolls will come out to play in theaters on September 26th, 2014.